General

A Semester-in-Review

“You got me shakin’ got me runnin’ away
You get me crawlin’ up to you everyday,
Don’t bring me down, no no no no no,
I’ll tell you once more before I get off the floor
Don’t bring me down.” – ‘Don’t Bring Me Down’, by Electric Light Orchestra

Two months into the winter semester of my freshman year here at U of T, and suffice it to say, a lot has happened. From events bringing the community together, to exams dampening the mood, first-year engineering has continued to be a rollercoaster of highs and lows.

In January, I approached the new year full of optimism and energy, ready to tackle whatever assignment I was handed. I was determined to put more effort into my academics, while becoming more involved in extra-curricular activities. Ah, to be naïve again. In truth, I more or less ended up in the same rut I had fallen into the previous semester, only far sooner than before. The infamous ‘winter blahs’ set in like quick-drying concrete, and I was stuck in a perpetual state of procrastination outside of classes. Midterms have lined up one after the other, done their damage to my morale, and headed back to the tail end of the line to wait for their next turn. With two more on the table for next week, this weekend isn’t looking terribly exciting.

Me, trying to find some optimism while sifting through everything I need to study.

Me, trying to find some optimism while sifting through everything I need to study.

Then again, that’s just one side of the story. There’s been moments (however fleeting) that have brightened up the mood, and that have helped make my first-year experience a worthwhile endeavour. Joining Blue Sky Solar, as I previously wrote about, means that I at the very least made progress with my resolution to do more outside of the classroom. Getting out more often with friends let me see both new and familiar parts of the 6ix, from a new perspective. I wrote a lot about heading throughout Toronto and seeing all the city had to offer last semester, but over the past month or so, I’ve really made an extended effort to branch out, with good results. It’s allowed me to further grow as a photographer, and accordingly I’ve gotten even more obsessed with the hobby. Additionally, as an engineering student, I’d be hard pressed to find a week in which there hasn’t been an organized event of some sort to help take our minds off of the ever-growing pile of things to study for (I can’t speak with certainty for the other faculties, but I’m sure there have been more than enough faculty-specific events to keep you all refreshed, too!).

Seeing the CN skyline from a new vantage point - exploring Toronto is never a dull experience.

Seeing the CN skyline from a new vantage point – exploring Toronto is never a dull experience.

This second half of my freshman year here on the St. George campus has definitely proven itself to be more intense than last semester. While it’s undoubtedly been stressful academically, when outside of a class setting it’s proven to be as enjoyable and unforgettable as all the stereotypes have made it out to be. Heading into the home stretch, I’m sure it’ll continue to be an uphill battle, but if I put in the work there’s no reason I won’t see rewards in both aspects of life at U of T.